USC Trojans Victory Over Stanford Cardinal Tainted By Pat Haden Controversy


USC Trojans used a late field goal and fumble recovery to overcome the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday afternoon in a game that will be remembered more for athletic director Pat Haden’s antics than USC’s victory.

First the game.

Stanford controlled pretty much every aspect of this game from start to finish with the very notable exception of the red zone. The Cardinal ended up in the red zone five times in this game and came away with only 10 points. This futility includes a missed chip shot field goal and a touchdown taken away because of a penalty. Better efficiency in the red zone and Stanford walks away with a win.

Instead USC managed a way to hang around. They got the first score of the game on a one-yard touchdown run by Justin Davis to cap a 12 play, 68 yard drive. But that was about the extent of USC’s offense. They had three three-and-outs that surrounded a 12 play drive that ended in a punt heading late into the third quarter.

That’s when things started getting weird. USC was able to drive down for a field goal to tie the game at 10 late in the third quarter. During the field goal attempt USC head coach Steve Sarkisian was flagged for sideline interference, a simple five-yard penalty. Sarkisian was irate about the penalty and earned himself a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Those penalties pushed back the USC kickoff which was returned by Stanford’s Ty Montgomery (9 catches, 83 yards), who was then targeted by USC’s Hayes Pullard at the end of the return. By the end of this sequence there had been 35 yards in penalties and Hayes was ejected.

At that somehow was the least crazy part of all of it.

A few plays later USC’s AD, and Playoff Committee member, Pat Haden came running down from his spot in the stands to the sidelines. He was then caught by cameras having a discussion with officials about the quality of the officiating. It was clear he was not pleased with the answer he received.

In an on-air interview with Haden – yes, this all actually happened – he said he received a text from the sidelines to come down and talk with the officials. Whatever the truth is, Haden should never have been down there in that situation and it is not the best look for the newly formed playoff committee.

Yes, the game.

USC kicker Andre Heidari was the hero for the second year in a row by nailing a 53 yard field goal with 2:30 remaining in the game.

A sack/fumble on the ensuing drive by USC locked up the win for the Trojans as they get the huge road victory. But none of that is going to be what we talk about tomorrow thanks to Haden’s antics.